Rising Frenzy (Men of Myth #2), Brandon Witt
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Paranormal/Fantasy – Mermaids, Demon, Fae, Vampires, Contemporary Setting, Series
Length: 350 Pages
Reviewer: Kazza K
**SPOILER REVIEW. Better to have read Book #1 +** NSFW**
Rising Frenzy takes up with Brett having just left Finn. We experience Finn’s visceral hurt over Brett’s decision. He is devastated as he is totally head-over-heels in love with Brett. He feels it is him that has pushed Brett away and he takes so much responsibility on his own shoulders for not protecting him more, maybe saying ‘I love you’ to Brett was too soon, maybe his family was too much, on top of other issues Brett was facing. It hurts to be rejected and he is feeling the rejection big time. There is also the matter of a voice in Finn’s head that started at the end of book #1. The voice is destructive, mocking, humiliating, dominating. It taunts Finn into much emotional and physical pain, and as the book progresses, it is a pain that permeates Finn’s very soul and marrow.
In Rising Frenzy, the majority of the POV are Finn’s, and this book really belongs to him because this time the emotional pain for the majority of the book belongs to him. Having said that, Brett is still on page and still has a POV, and he still has his issues. He is dealing with having seem Sonia again as an undead, ruthlessly ripping a family to pieces. Beautiful, vivacious, kind and caring Sonia. The fact that he had to deal with discovering he is not human and that people have died around him or are being hurt scars him deeply. There is also the fact that he doesn’t feel whole on land and that the sea calls to him.
Brett is now living under the sea, having left with the being who was making his presence known subtlety throughout book #1. That ‘being‘ is Therin his biological father who happens to be mer. So, Rising Frenzy alternates between the land and the sea and what is happening to both of the protagonists from Submerging Inferno trying to find their way independently of one another.
After the initial look at how Finn felt totally devastated on the day Brett left, the book skips forward four months. Finn is still nowhere near being over Brett and he is falling apart. He isn’t turning up to work at his mother’s bakery, he goes by cloaked of an evening and waits outside Brett’s grandmother’s house to protect her from the vampire, as best a warlock can against a vamp. He also goes in the hope that Brett might turn up there, but time has shown that he isn’t coming. Still, there is something comforting in being around Beverly, and Finn is a kind protector by nature. Finn also goes to The Square more and more. He indulges in Spor, the supernatural recreational drug of choice. The first time is by pure accident when a human hopped up on the drug has his throat slit as he was about to fight Finn, and Finn ingests a lot of his Spor-riddled blood when it gushes out. This is where one of the most interesting characters of any paranormal / fantasy book comes into play. The fairy, Schwint. He finds Finn in Balboa Park naked, off his head, with an erection to rival a rock. Schwint, being the good fairy that he is, relieves Finn of his rock-hard erection by blowing him repeatedly, apparently, but Finn remembers nothing when he wakes up next to Schwint in the morning, still in Balboa Park and feeling somewhat worse for wear.
Schwint is an absolutely up-front character and even Finn can’t be angry for Schwint doing what Schwint does – enjoying party attitudes and sex. After his taste or the “pretty warlock” Schwint is gone on Finn, the reader knows it, although it isn’t admitted. Schwint has a fairy’s player reputation to uphold after all, and Finn is not exactly boyfriend material at this stage.
After his taste of Spor, and the fact that he has not thought about Brett or had the voice in his head while on it, he decides Spor is a chemical comfort for his hurt and pain. He can justify his use of Spor and his now promiscuous lifestyle that accompanies the lowering of his inhibitions. There is some full-on sex in this book – spit roasts and all – when Finn visits the back room of the local bar at The Square. In the back room anything goes, sex, drugs, debauchery of all kinds. The original Finn would never have contemplated it – Marina, who runs the bar, calls Finn a boy scout – the pained Finn is a different person. Other aspects of The Square that are interesting include the fact that the supes are looking out for him there, although it takes a while for that to sink in, and the voice does not bother him there. However, a bitch-witch named Hazel does give him grief, and you just know that she is involved up to her fake wart in his current dilemma.
Meanwhile, under the sea, Brett is lonely. He pushes images or thoughts of Finn, his grandmother and Sonia aside. It isn’t easy fitting in somewhere else, no matter how drawn you are to another. He also finds that homophobia has accompanied him. Syleen, the head of the Chromis mers, does not like homosexuality one little bit. She does not trust Brett’s demon nature either, and when Therin finds out his son is gay all sorts of issues get ramped up exponentially. It is bad enough that he had to deal with this on land but now it’s followed him to what is to be his new life, his new family. It doesn’t help that no one anywhere likes demons, unless they just happen to come in handy. Brett finds a great deal of comfort through a mer named Lelas, she is a sweet mermaid who takes Brett under her…gill and her guileless nature won me over straight away. I have much Lelas love. Then there is the enigmatic Zef, one of the elders, as well as Wrell and Greylin. Brett gets to experience his first rite of mer passage. The hunt. At the hunt, Brett makes a name for himself with the tribe by his actions, and there is some riff healing. But I do not trust them all and that is all I will say.
There are some interesting juxtapositions in this book. 1) Brett is celibate by the very close-knit and intrusive nature of the tribe and its communication, and its non-acceptance of homosexuality. Meanwhile, Finn is fucking many. 2) The mer communicate telepathically, makes sense as they live under the water. So, Brett wants to be able to hone this skillset, especially as they often leave him out of some of their exchanges pertaining to him. He doesn’t have the ability to tap into that, yet. Finn, on the other hand, cannot get this telepathic voice out of his head, and he wants it gone so desperately. 3) Brett still cannot seem to find a loving and accepting family, or spirituality. No matter where he goes, homophobia follows and disapproving deities follow. Finn’s family are nothing but accepting, the more he finds trouble the more they stick together. The nymphs, the witches and warlocks spiritual guides, are inclusive.
I loved Rising Frenzy. I could write the single longest review of this book, and isn’t THAT scary. The world building is just fantastic – both on land and in the sea. The meticulous detail to the mer’s tails, their behaviours, characterisations, their hunt, deity, their place in the world, is superb. The loving detail of the characters, the dialogue, the detail to the moon party that Schwint takes Finn to. Schwint’s shifts – just read muumuu wearing Bertha. Schwint is the most fantastic character and there is now this wretched triangle going as Schwint and Finn have declared their love. I suspect more people to be added on Brett’s side. But you just know that Finn is still besotted with Brett. Will his love of Schwint be the real deal, and Brett but a beautiful obsession? Or will Brett come home to Finn? Will he be able to, and will he want to? Finn’s pain is palpable, the reasons why I think we can all understand as humans. Finn’s family is wonderful. Everyone is really well written and fully realised. His parent’s are lovely, his sisters are sibling-typical – Caitlin is a royal pain but she has her reasons.
Sonia gets a POV and it is horrifying as you see just what happened to her at the hands of the vampire…and after. There are several decent people hurting very badly in Rising Frenzy. Then there is the fabulous Schwint, who I suspect the surface has only been scratched on.
If I had read this book prior to my books of 2013 it would have been way up near the top of my list. Why did I not see this series before? Where I grumbled about the New Adult nature of Submerging Inferno, you will get no such utterance from me here. Here, the sex is primal and raw, and mostly about covering pain. The mood is, at times, quite sombre and very adult in its complexities. This is shaping up to be one of the very best paranormal/fantasy series that I have read, and I have read A LOT of these books over the years. I hope Clashing Tempest carries this love on. I have a very definite opinion of who I want with whom in this series and I’m not sure I am going to get it. I have purposely not said what the outcome I want is to anyone but my blog partner. I am also attached to more than a couple of characters and I’m worried about what is going to happen to them next. Stay tuned as it is with great passion and equally great trepidation I step into Clashing Tempest.
“Can I touch it? Is it safe?
Schwint looked back, saw the orb and grinned. “Oh, sure. Touch away.” He leaned closer before I tried to touch the light, his voice a mock whisper. “I’ll be saying that later, by the way.”
I turned to Schwint. “It’s food!”
His grin nearly cracked his face as he nodded. “I knew you’d love this.”
For the billionth time in the past hour, I let out a groan. Schwint laughed again beside me. “God, I love hearing you make that sound. I can’t wait until I’m the one responsible for it again.”